Monday, February 11, 2013

Giveaway Hop: Celebrating St. Valentine (INT)

Celebrating St. Valentine Giveaway Hop

Welcome to my stop on the Celebrating St. Valentine Giveaway Hop hosted by Nat @ Reading Romances.

For this Valentine's, I want to feature memorable "first reads" -- the books that got me started reading and loving the authors who wrote them.

My first Lisa Kleypas: Again the Magic

Ah, forbidden love. Aline is a lady and McKenna is a servant -- but the heart doesn't choose who it bestows love to. After years apart, McKenna returns -- filled with hate and resentment and determined to exact revenge on the woman who broke his heart. But, the reunion isn't what either one expected -- and both realize that true love waits -- and endures.

This story makes me cry every time I read it. I keep hoping that Lisa Kleypas writes a longer story about Gideon Shaw and Olivia, Aline's younger sister.

My first Laura Lee Guhrke: And Then He Kissed Her

I love, love, love Emmaline Dove and Harry Marlowe. Emmaline Dove is one of my all-time favorite heroine names (and was so tempted to name my daughter after her -- my daughter's name is Celestine. Close enough.) And I love the idea of Girl-Bachelors, making a wonderful living doing work that they are passionate about.

I have a soft spot for stories about writers and publishing and this one captures the intricacies of the publishing world. I enjoyed seeing that world from Harry's point of view -- and all the difficult decisions he had to make as publisher and owner.

My first Lauren Royal: Violet

The Ashcrofts with their unique motto: Question Convention -- and their three unique daughters remain one of my favorite families from historical romances. Violet and Ford are fun together -- both have very scientific minds and complement each other very well.

Royal's novels have the right mix of humor, warmth, heat and heart. (My most favorite part is how they "fashion" a pair of spectacles for Ford. ^_^)

Lauren Royal is one of my favorite authors -- and my love for her work was really put to the test because of how difficult it was to obtain paperback copies of her books: I was fortunate to have found my copy of Violet from the used books store in my city -- but the rest of the books took me a while to find: I went through Bookmooch, Ebay, Amazon, etc.

And, now, I am proud to say I own a complete set of every book Lauren Royal has ever printed.

My First Julia Quinn: When He Was Wicked

Believe it or not, I didn't start the Bridgerton series with The Duke and I (although it is my favorite book in the series) -- but with When He Was Wicked, Francesca and Michael's story.

Many romance novels feature only one love and it ends in a happily ever after for the hero and heroine. But Julia Quinn's story addresses the difficult (and painful) question, "What happens when our true love dies?" --

Francesca had the love of her life and she lost him. Francesca is content to be a widow and never imagined herself capable of loving again but, when she reunites with her dear friend (and her late husband's cousin and heir), Michael -- she realizes that the heart is capable of learning to love again.

(I am waiting for the Epilogues, The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After to be released this April because I am still wondering if Francesca and Michael were ever blessed with children.)

My first Mary Balogh: Simply Love

Have you noticed that I have the unfortunate tendency not to start a series with the first book? ^_^

This was again the case with Mary Balogh. Before Mary Balogh, I had envisioned all of the heroes and heroines in romance novels to be perfect -- angelic, delicate, innocent women and dashing, handsome men -- so when I picked up Simply Love, the premise intrigued me.

Sydnam is horribly scarred and Anne is a single mother. Anne is wary of men and Sydnam is wary of people in general -- so how can love grow between these two people?

A hauntingly beautiful story, the love between Anne and Sydnam reminds me of my favorite quote from Whitney Otto's How to Make an American Quilt: Young lovers seek perfection. Old lovers learn the art of sewing shreds together and of seeing beauty in a multiplicity of patches.

Can you share your memorable first reads? ^_^

***Giveaway Time!***

What you can win here:
Amazon Gift Card (value = $10) or any book (max value is $10 and can be a digital/Kindle copy or via The Book Depository) 
Number of winners:
Open to (INT, US or US/CAN):
How to enter:

*One entry per household, per IP address.
*This giveaway will run until February 18.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In addition to my giveaway prize above, Nat @ Reading Romances has organized a grand prize and you can gain entries towards the grand prize by stopping by all the hop stops and by commenting!

To join the giveaway for the grand prize, fill out this form.


  1. i was really surprised by the seduction of pheaton black but even if it wasn't my cup of tea at first i'm not following teh series and loving it^^

  2. I LOVED the Iron Duke :D

  3. I love the first time you read book - discovering the characters and the secrets.
    A favorite first read for me was hunger games - you never know what will happen next, so exciting (:
    Have a great week.

  4. I was so happy to discover the existence of m/m's changed my reading habits!


  5. It may be corny but like many others Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice stuck with me.

  6. One of the most memorable books was Rebecca by du Maurier!
    Karina V

  7. Bared To You got me obsessed with Sylvia Day's work


  8. Well, as a child it was The Witches by Roald Dahl, in high school it was The Great Gatsby by F. Scot Fitzgerald or Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier and as an adult it is The Experiment in Terror Series by Karina Halle.

  9. I've always vividly remembered Ms. Havisham from Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I love, Love, LOVE that book!

  10. I remember Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen :)

  11. I love Courtney Milan's books since I read Unveiled. Lisa Kleypas is another firm fav; the 1st book of hers I read was Dreaming of You.

  12. I first learned to love romance by reading Johanna Lindsey books years ago. I ate them up!

    mcv111 at hotmail dot com

  13. I can remember falling in love with the tortured & tormented soul of Heathcliff in WUTHERING HEIGHTS. Still a favorite.

  14. The Green Mile by Stephen King.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  15. I remember reading Gone with the Wind when I was a young girl, it was huge!

    fencingromein at hotmail dot com

  16. One of the very first adult romances I read was Once & Always by Judith McNaught, I remember rereading that book a lot when I younger, I don't love it as much anymore but it was definitely one of my favourite reads as a teenager. Thank you. :)

  17. I became a lifelong fan of Jane Austen after reading Pride and Prejudice :)

  18. Thanks for participating in the hop.

  19. My first adult books was by Karen Robards.

    susanmplatt AT hotmail DOT com

  20. Memorable first read is 50 shades of Gray because it got me into reading again!

  21. My memorable first read was my first adult read and that was Janelle Taylor (I found my love for historicals when I read her).

    rafflecopter name; Dawna Newman

  22. The book "Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon kind of introduced me to the romance genre, although it's not technically a romance. You find it in the literature section. It was so good, though! Claire and Jamie are EPIC.

    mestith at gmail dot com

  23. My fitrst romance was Nora Roberts "Birthright" which I reread many times. My first PNR was Sherrilyn Kenyon's "Dance with the Devil" which was a revelation at the time, and my first historical was "Outlander" by Diana Gabaldon, a book which became my favorite.

  24. Emma by Jane Austen.
    Thanks for making it INT! :)

  25. MY first time reading a Romance book. I never looked backed, it made me love reading and enjoy it more now than I did prior to reading them. Happy Valentine's Day! And Thank you so much~


  26. My first historical novel with romance was The Winter Mantle by Elizabeth Chadwick. I love her other books.

  27. Kiss An Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.

  28. I think my first memorable reads were The Babysitter's Club books. I loved those when I was younger and then I graduated to Sweet Valley High. LOL

    Happy Valentine's Day,

  29. My first romance novel: Forever and the Night by Linda Lael Miller

  30. My most memorable reads were Nancy Drew books.
    Thanks for the chance!


  32. by reading the darkest night - gena showalter
    thanks for the giveaway :)


  33. First time reading Pride and Prejudice, I just said I'll read one chapter or 2 but couldn't stop! I finished the book in one afternoon!

  34. My first Christine Feehan book was Dark Guardian.
    bituin76 at hotmail dot com

  35. There are those books that just suck you in and don't let you go long after you read them. One of the first books for me like that was Number the Stars, followed by Ella Enchanted. A Walk to Remember, Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and many more have all proudly joined this list.

  36. My first Nora Roberts: Birthright, hooked me on romance books.
    My first vampire book: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward that hooked me on paranormal romance.
    My first historical book: Devil's Bride by Stephanie Laurens that made me wish for a handsome duke of my own.

    And many, many more that only solidified my love of romance novels....

    anasmith1919 at gmail dot com

  37. oh man. i have so many memorable 1st reads. i swear i came out of the womb reading. so i remember 2 authors that i was obsessed with as a youngster:
    RL Stein & VC Andrews, and probably before those 2 was Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary. thanks for the giveaway and the blast from the past!!
    pepperpenn42 at gmail dot com

  38. A memorable read for me was Lasher by Anne Rice because it started my love of paranormal. :)
    Thank you for the wonderful giveaway!

  39. My memorable first read, the one book that got me hooked on reading, is Forget You by Jennifer Echols. She is the reason I read 268 books in 2012. If not for her, I would probably never know how much fun reading actually is! And thanks to you for being a part of this blog hop so that I can continue my reading journey! Thanks for this great giveaway!

  40. Reading "A Tale of Two Cities" for the first time was an unbelievable experience. When I got to the ending and Sydney Carton's sacrifice, I cried. And that was the first book I ever cried over!

  41. I loved reading Poison Princess by Kresley Cole, i was surprised by how much i enjoyed it!

  42. Thank you for the awesome hop and giveaway!!! :)

  43. first time reading pride and prejudice



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